Running a business is complicated. There is the inexorable march of technology, new systems that always need learning, and then there are just the ever-increasing demands of how to keep a business afloat.

A business is run by its many parts. There’s the head of the business, often known as the CEO. There’s the Finance department that helps make sure all the money is accounted for and is going where it needs to go. And then there’s the one thing that helps make sure the business gets the customers to keep the money flowing and the business running: Marketing.

Marketing team using marketing automation platform

Marketing is not easy. Even local marketing takes a lot of work. Now try marketing to your whole state. What about your whole country? The whole world even? That takes a lot of effort, organization, and manpower. That’s when Marketing Automation steps in. With a marketing automation platform, companies are able to streamline a lot of marketing tasks, making it easier for marketing teams to get the job done both efficiently and effectively.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation at its roots is about software that is designed to help automate tasks that exist in the realm of marketing. This can involve sending out emails, transmitting messages to leads, maybe even organizing promising leads versus poor leads, and sometimes auto-sharing something to social media to help produce user engagement.

All of these are marketing-related tasks, and marketing automation can help by creating functions and sequences where the software does these tasks for you within a set of parameters that you may have to create yourself.

The benefits of Marketing Automation can range from better lead conversion into sales to having a better grasp of what customers are doing on your website. If the marketing department is the brain centre of the money-making part of a business, marketing automation is like a brain booster: getting things done easier and quicker.

This efficiency, in turn, can help make sure that your marketing spending is being allocated to the right places and not to places that can be better streamlined with Marketing Automation.

What Marketing Platforms Are There? Here are Six Great Ones!

It is important to look at as many options as you can. Every automated marketing platform comes with its own list of features. And while a lot of them may seem similar, it is important to note where each places more emphasis on. Two platforms could have everything there is to offer, but one might focus more on lead generation, while another places a ton of focus on making that perfect email social media campaign.

If you need a comparison of platforms with a strong list of features, consider consulting this comparison chart to help you along your way: https://sharpspring.com/marketo-competitors-pricing-and-reviews/

Let’s take a look at six automated marketing platforms that are sure to suit you and your business one way or another.

1. SharpSpring

SharpSpring is an automated marketing platform equipped with a plethora of features that are meant to help you reach leads more efficiently and convert more of them to real sales. This automated marketing platform has features such as dynamic emails, smart visitor tracking, third-party CRM integration, and smart views of everything from your sales work pipeline to internal emails.

If you do a lot of online engagement with your customers and audiences, SharpSpring also features a point-and-click easy blog creator and a flexible-yet-powerful social media management system.

With behavioural-based tracking, SharpSpring’s VisitorID can help turn anonymous visitors into identifiable leads that you can seize and turn into sales. SharpSpring can also keep track of when known leads visit your website, alerting your sales teams when a lead is showing an active interest in your business. Timing can be everything when it comes to approaching a lead and converting it to a customer.

In this electronic age, it is important to have an impressive email marketing campaign when reaching out to leads as well as engaging current customers. SharpSpring brings efficiency and effectiveness in enabling users to craft personalized emails using an email designer, as well as providing the means to swap out phrases and images within the email to cater it to different leads and consumers. And when you’re not feeling like making one, there also comes a library of templates pre-built.

2. Marketo

Marketo is an automated marketing platform that comes with a variety of functions. Like other automated marketing platforms, it comes with tools to aid in lead generation, email marketing, and also measuring your ROI.

Marketo specializes in lead generation through various methods. One method is by connecting behavioural data with platforms such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. In this method, Marketo is able to better find and target higher quality leads based on visits to a website or even by specific interests. Another method is by Marketo’s ability to help users craft SEO-friendly landing pages that draw leads in and create profiles through forms, allowing the customer to drive and motivate themselves through to the point of a sale.

Marketo also helps users develop programs for customer engagement as well as the means to track and measure the effectiveness of those programs. Through Marketo, a user can modify their engagement strategies, keep customers engaged, and maintain sales growth through recurring sales.

3. Pardot

Pardot is a product from SalesForce that is a full marketing automation tool. It touts a system of finding better leads and qualifying them before sales even get a move on. With the power of SalesForce, Pardot has a solid foundation in CRM and live-tracking of various elements.

With the ability to integrate Google AdWords and a customizable landing page builder, Pardot empowers users with a better grasp on SEO and crafting a page that grabs visiting leads and turns them into customers. Also, any landing pages that are made get integrated with your workflows through Pardot.

Pardot provides reporting on your ROI, giving you the insight to measure performance and decide on how best to move forward.

4. Aritic

Aritic is a marketing automation platform designed to help turn visitor tracking into a personalized lead generator.

Through behavioural data that is collected from visitors, Aritic automatically scores a lead by what the lead does on a website’s landing page, what marketing messages might’ve been responded to, and anything else that may be performed on your website. From those scores, Aritic helps the user determine who is a qualified warm lead and who might not be so qualified. Once enough information is gathered, Aritic can gather further information through a lead’s social media interactions and location. With the gathered information, a user could then craft email campaigns based on various segments of data such as user behaviour, or even location.

Ultimately, once you’ve decided who your real marketing targets are based on this information, Aritic can help you create effective marketing through multiple channels ranging from email to social media, even to SMS.

5. Customer.io

Customer.io is one of the more specialized automated marketing platforms. It specializes in customer communications, using behavioural data to help tailor how it interacts with your customers. By using data gathered by Customer.io, you can custom-tailor when, how, and what it sends to target leads and customers.

It also tracks lead conversions, so you can actively see how those targeted communications are working out, and what might need changing to adapt to consumer behaviour and sentiment. What’s more, Customer.io also keeps track of page views, email activity, and it can be integrated with either your website or a mobile app.

While some platforms are jacks-of-all-trades, Customer.io is a master of personalized email communication.

6. HubSpot

HubSpot is a multi-part automated marketing platform that specializes in tracking leads, customers, email, and workflow. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t also come with a load of other great features.

The HubSpot CRM is the part that comes free, equipped with features to help you track and organize both your leads and customers. But to have access to the real automated marketing features, you will need to also get the Marketing Hub attachment.

With the Marketing Hub attachment, you can build your landing pages, blog posts, and email templates that you will need to properly engage leads and convert them into sales. HubSpot also will provide SEO suggestions to assist in making sure that your written content gets to the right customers who are trying to search for your services. Along with being able to create landing pages, HubSpot also provides forms and live chat functionality, adding more customer engagement.

HubSpot does more with its tracking capabilities. With HubSpot, you can also keep track of where your emails travel, who has read them, giving you a sense of how attractive your email campaign is, and whether it is working. By connecting either through the HubSpot’s own free CRM or through SalesForce, you will have all the information about your campaign’s progress and your customers’ behaviours at your fingertips.

In Closing

Choosing your automated marketing platform really depends on what your business and marketing needs are. Do you need an automated marketing platform? Most definitely. With how complex the world of business and marketing has become, you will need every edge you can get to outpace the competition.

And the key to that is to make things more efficient. That’s what the automated marketing platform is for. Every platform has their own pricing model, so if the price is a concern, it is best to take a look on their respective websites to determine which one fits your wallet.